Friday, October 2, 2009

Breakin' it down.

When I started blogging a year ago, I didn't have the faintest clue about blogs. I didn't know what the unspoken rules were or how to get a custom template, or. . . well, anything. But I know the blogging neighborhood now. I have my favorite walks and stops and vistas. I've told you about many of them before.

And although it's Friday, and I often do my favorites here, I declare today Opposite Day, probably because I'm slightly peevish after wading through too many blogs this morning while dealing with a nagging crick in my neck. I'm going to list from worst to least in descending order the things that bug me about blogs.

Aren't you glad you stopped by today?

(Oh, and if you're, uh...familiar...with any of these [guilty is such a strong word], if I'm still coming around and commenting from time to time, assume I like you anyway.)

1. I don't like it when people don't return the favor of commenting, but I REALLY HATE it when they're the ones begging for/extorting/bargaining for comments in their sidebar. It's like saying, "Hey, validate ME because I'm fantastic but I clearly don't owe you the return favor."

I could probably go on at length on this point alone, but I won't. I'm going to limit myself to only a hundred paragraphs. Here's the thing: several times I've noticed bloggers who hang out on the same blogs that I do. I think their comments are funny and I'm led to believe that we may have some things in common. At the very least I'm sure we share a sense of humor (which, I'll be honest, should worry them). So I go find their blogs and I begin to read and comment. Sometimes they comment back. We become friends. And I feel happy. (Hi, InkMom and Mommy J!)

But sometimes they don't. And it hurts my feelings. I'm seeking them out because I want to be blog friends and I have to accept their rejection at some level. Something about what I do/how I write just doesn't appeal to them. I'm learning to be okay with that. THIS scenario is not one that makes me mad so much as it bums me out slightly.

The ones that specifically make me mad are the ones who go on and on about COMMENT ON MY BLOG! and then don't return the favor. Capische?

Side note, I don't comment on every blog every day and I don't expect others to comment on everything I write. I like it, but it's not necessary. So I'm not talking about occasional commenters. I'm talking about the meanie (and yes, hypocritical) No Commenters.

And now you can see why that made number one. That issue makes me mad. The rest of my list is just stuff that's slightly to barely annoying.

2. Anonymous commenters who say mean/judgmental things. I've never personally dealt with anything mean that an anonymous commenter has said to me, but I've seen it happen to others and I think those anonymous folks are SUPER lame. I don't think they understand that their comments/judgments/chastisements have zero effect in changing whatever it is they disagree with. Other people have said it better, so I'll let the issue go, but either slap your name on your words or don't say them.

And here's where we descend to the merely annoying...

3. People who set their RSS feeds so that their whole post won't pull up in a feed reader, just the beginning. I get why people do it, but I'm lazy and I save those blogs for very last. And if the beginning doesn't grab me, I won't read the rest of it. If the whole thing pulls up, the whole thing gets read and I'm far more likely to comment. Just sayin'. (And yeah, I know I just offended over half of the bloggers that comment here. Not my intention: remember, if I still come around, I still love you. Mwah!)

4. Black backgrounds. Or really dark or busy backgrounds. But especially black ones. It feels like such hard work to read them.

5. Three column blogs. There are a few exceptions to this (Hi, Crash!) but most of them feel too busy and visually overwhelming to me.

6. Don't love the word verification security check. I took mine off three months after I started blogging, and you know how many spam emails/comment trolls I've had in over a year? Two. I can't say I hate this feature, but see the thing above about being lazy. It's just another layer that gets old if I'm doing it twenty times a day.

To end on a more positive note, I want to share a couple of random things about blogging that I love that kind of popped into my mind this week.

1. I had a dream about Crash Test Dummy the other night. Actually, I had it right before I woke up for the day. The whole dream was pretty much her trying to come up with a phone number that also spelled something out. She'd be like, "(801) COOL GIRL. Wait, that's eight digits. I need seven." And she went on and on. For some reason when I woke up, it made me happy that I blog.

2. I've been thinking about Charrette a lot this week and hoping that she's having an amazing time at her painting workshop. And I was happy that blogging has given me a reason to care. Same thing when I kept wondering how DeNae was doing after her recent loss, or when I was worried about why LT Elliot wasn't around for a while. Totally makes up for meanie No Commenters a million-fold.

You know what? I love you guys. All you guys. Even if you restrict your RSS feed.


Becky said...

Hey, you three-column-blog hater! I'm never commenting on your blog again. Never never never!!!

Except I will. I can't help it - I like you. :)

L.T. Elliot said...

*sniff* I love you Melanie.

Okay, I confess...I have no idea how to mess with my RSS feeder thingamagig so if it's screwed up, will you pop me an email and tell me how to fix that one? (If you don't mind.) Also, if my RSS feeder thingy isn't working right, sorry about that. Again, I claim stupidity. =$

*HUGS* I comment on your blog simply because I like your posts. I'm not a comment-maker-reciprocater. If I comment, trust that I likey your blog. =]

Kristina P. said...

I am only guilty of the partial feeder. I actually had someone email me, who had never commented, and wasn't a bloggy "friend", and said that they didn't have time to click over to my blog and would I change it back. Uh, no.

And I so agree with you about the begging for comments, but lack of reciprocation. I had a girl leave comments on mine, I think twice, begging me to come to hers. So I did, and she had a cute blog, so I continued to comment. She never returned to mine. She's off my Reader now.

InkMom said...

Please don't hate me! In my defense, I did comment on your love of words post. Which I have been thinking about ever since I read it. I thought it might be a little too nerdy to keep posting comments every time I found a new word that I love, like this one:


It is also inspiring it's own post, just as syzygy has, even though that one has not yet been officially posted.

I have also been mulling over a comment for your TV post, but I haven't finished watching first episodes of everything in my DVR, and thus do not yet feel qualified to dish about my tele-visual loves and hates, which, if I'm being completely honest, are extensive. Maybe even as extensive as yours.

However. I agree with you. I know exactly what you mean: you think a relationship has been established, but it must not be much of one if you're not receiving any feedback. This is a virtual world thing that is hard to figure out, because our relationships here fail to really convey a huge element of our lives: day-to-day, real life crap. Which happens. And doesn't always get written about. (That's where MommyJ has been. In the sickbed. Official flu diagnosis now, but last week it was something else. She told me her reader is staggeringly full, and she just doesn't have the energy to look through it all.)

I am glad that I stopped by today, actually! And I apologize for the hijack (I just hijacked over at Motherboard's place, too . . . something in the air, I guess) but please know that I read every word you write. Attentively. And I enjoy most all of them. (And if I'm really being honest, I read a lot of blogs. But there are just a handful written by people I think I might actually like to hang out with in real life. And yours is on that VERY short list.)

And now I must quit before my comment is longer than your post. I should probably just e-mail you!

Don said...

So if you use a reader, how do you know if a blog is dark and hard to read?

Never mind. (sigh) It's probably time for a make-over, anyway.

Luisa Perkins said...

I have no idea whether my RSS is restricted. I hope it's not, because I don't like that, either.

Shellie said...

I'm with you on black backgrounds. also people who background change every few days.

Anonymous said...

Hmm I always have busy backgrounds. Sorry! I agree with the anonymous commenter thing. It's never happened to me but it did to a dear friend of mine and it was way over the line calling her a terrible mother, etc. So mean especially since she is a fantastic mom.

CaJoh said...

I think I only had one anonymous commenter, but they never returned.

I tend to view comments a lot like telling jokes. You hear a joke and it reminds you of one, so you tell it. Same thing with blogging comments. You hear something that you identify with or inspires you to write, so you comment.

I must admit that I sometimes have a hard time completing any post that doesn't grab me in the first paragraph, so it may not even matter that their RSS feed is limited to the first X number of characters.

Heather of the EO said...

You crack me up.

I don't know how in the world a person could have you commenting on their blog, come visit you, and not comment in return. Especially if you see them comment elsewhere. I highly doubt it's because they think you're lame.

You're like, the opposite of lame.

Which would be superfantabuloh-awesomeriffic.

Heather of the EO said...

Oh, and I think I've done that to people. (not commented after they've been faithfully commenting on my blog). But it's not cause I think they're lame...I just have trouble keeping up these days. I want to be as faithful to commenting on the blogs of people who I've known forever (in blog time) and that's about all I have time for. So maybe that's what happens? Just an idea :)

Lara said...

I apologize for the RSS feed restriction thing. I had some problems a couple years ago with other sites pulling my feed and publishing my content on their sites, and the only way to stop it was to restrict the feed. I don't know if it would be better now or not, but that's why I do it.

Otherwise, I TOTALLY agree with everything you said here 100%. Especially number 1. It's kind of weird. I wonder if these people realize that they do that? I mean, I get it if they don't love my blog, we all have personal tastes. But I don't get the begging and pleading and then leaving. Which is why I love what InkMom has in her sidebar.

DeNae said...

First, thank you so much for thinking of me these last weeks. Knowing that you had lost your parents really did give me a sense of connection to you, even beyond what we had already established (and believe me, I've only ever had one 3-hour phone conversation with a blogging pal, baby!!)

I'm a blogging neophyte, so I have no idea what you're even talking about re: RSS. I'll go look and see if I'm in the clear.

I, too, hate busy or dark backgrounds, mostly because I'm old and blind.

And I'm sincere when I say (on my sidebar) that what I write is intended to be conversational. But like a conversation, it's no fun if I'm having to beg for someone to keep up their half of the dialogue, or if they engage and then clam up. Begging for followers and commenters drives me crazy, because it seems just so NOT what I want from this blogging environment.

I love Charrette. Thank you for introducing us! Did you know we met a couple of months ago and spent an AWESOME morning together? She's the goods.

DeNae said...

...and so are you, MJ. The goods, I mean. You're totally the goods.

Emily said...

Well, now I'm wondering if my RSS feed does that restricted thing . . . I have no clue.

TOTALLY hate the "comment on mine but I just don't comment" bloggers.

So buggin'.

Anonymous said...

Melanie, you is phunny and hawt!

(Yeah, I suppose complementary anonymous comments can be disturbing, too.)

Melanie J said...

Ha, ha, Anonymous! You're killing me right now!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I'd like to add to the list blog content that spills into the bright colored margins so you can only read the middle of every sentence.

I still can't figure out if I'm a dork like people I make fun of who have online romances going on when I think about and talk about my blog friends. Oh well. I like to believe that if I died, some of them would show up at my funeral, so I think that makes it legit.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed when new commenters show up on your blog? Cause I do. I love it, trust me, but at the same time I'm thinking, "Wow, I don't know how I"m going to keep up." I've begun to be a little more random in my visits and less dependent on reader. I don't know HOW Kristina does it, really. I'm convinced she only reads two sentences, comments, and moves on, but it works. :)

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I know we're already friends, so can we be best buds now??? I'm so w/ you on these issues!!

black backgrounds: my computer loads slowly sometimes. all I see is black for several minutes. If it takes too long, I give up and don't read the blog.

commenting/friends: yes! I comment on people's blogs so they'll know I exist and come see me!

I was going to make an entire BLOG about the captcha thing b/c it so annoys me. What a silly thing to get worked up about, huh? I also turned it off of my blog. No spammers yet! I'm just not that important! I think most people aren't even aware that their blog is doing this. They never have to do it to leave comments on their own blog.

Kimberly said...

I love what you said about seeing someone around at the blogs you visit, visiting theirs, but feeling that slight sense of rejection when they never comment on yours. Blog crushes are rough. Sigh.

janabananagirl said...

Okay, can I just say that I usually don't comment for one of two reasons:

1) I'm usually at work when I read your posts but I can't comment because my employer discourages it because of the trail it may lead back to them and something about my personal opinion possibly being taken for company opinion...or something like that. Plus, at the end of a 12 hour day I rarely remember which blogs I wanted to comment on and what I wanted to say, so I just don't say anything. (Luckily they haven't outlawed using Google Reader so I can at least still read your blog.)

2) Because I think you're one wicked funny gal and I just might be intimidated by your writing skills and don't really think I would have anything witty/funny/insightful to say.

But I do love your blog and...*holds up right hand*...I swear to comment more on posts I like so you'll keep writing posts I can read and enjoy.

Oh and one more thing: my favorite word is defenestration. It means to throw out the window, and it is the only word I remember from the GRE.

Jami said...

Funny bunny! I so agree with you.

I think I've gotten three spam comments in the last fifteen months. Since I get 100-400 people a day looking at that stupid lice post, you'd think it'd be more. But apparently spam ain't what it used to be.

I'm having a hard time keeping up with my blog habit these days, but I still swing around for you because I like you and I like your blog.

Tracy said...

Oh great, I'm not the best commenter, I've got a dark brown background, the comments security thingy AND I may or may not have the RSS problem. I suck!

I try not to be too sad when people don't comment, because I know that I read so much more than I comment on (usually because of time restraints).

Tracy said...

And I think I meant time constraints. Time restraints would be more like watch handcuffs or something...

Hel said...

I wouldn't even begin to presume that my silly little blog would capture your attention... it is mainly there for Grandma updates and a few intermittent "brain vomits" from me. I only hope that my RSS feed is back to normal.

I decided to do the first paragraph feed and then had a good long hard talk with myself - "Hel, do you honestly believe that limiting your feed is doing ANYONE (including yourself) any favours?!" It was like I thought I was some big hotshot blogger. It makes me giggle just thinking about it.

I am such a lazy commenter. It's the same in real life. All my friends know I am a slack tart.

Kazzy said...

I started reading a blog that I thought was fascinating last year, but she never ever ever commented on my blog, so I stopped even reading hers. I don't expect exact reciprocity, but common courtesy, people.

And Charrette is such a good pal. 20 years of friendship.

I like your blog :)

Carolyn V. said...

Well, I haven't been in the blog world for a year yet, and I'm so blog world impaired.

I really need help! This was a great post for me. thanks =)

Heidi Ashworth said...

I agree with a lot of this. I also hate when I comment on EVERY POST and when I stop blogging for a while, nobody misses me. Yup.

Jessica G. said...

I don't allow anonymous comments because of some nastiness that happened on my cake blog. Mean people love hiding.

My biggest pet peeve? Autoplay song lists. And they're usually hidden at the *bottom* of the blog so I can't turn it off without hunting it down. If I wanted to listen to the HSM3 soundtrack, I'd let my daughter control my iTunes.

Amber Lynae said...

I feel bad about not being able to comment and respond to a lot of posts because my lack of internet recently. But I am back and i plan to comment. But i am a three column blogger. But luckily I have a full post in my rss feeder (at least i think I do) so people can read in there reader and commenting won't be too overwhelming. Well that is my thought anyway. Love you Melanie J.

wonder woman said...

I kind of have a love hate relationship with the blogging right now. A lot of the people I started blogging with (and who would frequently validate me) aren't blogging much anymore. I feel like I need to find new people if I'm gonna get any love.

But finding new people is hard. And commenting all the time is time-consuming. I read lots of blogs, but only comment if I REALLY want to.

Despite all of that, I'm finally past blogging just for comments. They're just nice.

MommyJ said...

So... back from the sick bed and looking for this post amongst the 65 in my reader at Inkmom's recommendation. I absolutely agree. Except I have three columns. Silly BLOGHER. It takes up so much room and they must be in the top whatever margin, so that's why I added a third column.

Ditto on the shortened feed in readers. It's tough for me to click over. I shortened mine for a while, and realized that my traffic to my actual page increased when I allowed the full feed. Better way to inspire comments for sure.

As for blog/comment reciprocation, I don't comment on every single post that I read... I don't know how I would ever have time to do that. I absolutely comment when I feel inspired or moved to do so, or when I feel like it's been a while and I want the writer to know that I'm still out here, I'm still reading, and I still love what they write.

I HATE the comment game... the begging, bargaining, whining for comment love all the time. I don't know. There are just so many things in life that are so much more important than blogging, I think so much time can be wasted stressing about numbers. Page views, subscribers, comments. You can't take them with you, you know?

LisAway said...

Okay, but do you love those of us who DON'T restrict our feed just a little bit more? :)

I only stumbled into the blogging community after I thought what I thought was just a personal/family blog, so I think that's why I feel how I do about it all.

I plead completely guilty of having people comment for a while and never reciprocating. I reached a crisis and realized I would either quit reading blogs or just stick with my favorites. I definitely feel the injustice of it, but it was sort of all I could do. Sort of like what Heather said, except my limit was about one hundredth of what hers was. :)

Anonymous said...

I had read enough blogs before I started mine to have figured out that there just wasn't enough love and attention in the whole virtual world to satisfy everyone's need to be loved and feel important. That doesn't mean my ego doesn't rise and fall based on my blog stats, but it does mean that while my ego's rising and falling, my superego tells me it doesn't really matter. Also, I'm reasonable enough to realize that just talking about my cute kids isn't the kind of subject that invites a lot of dialogue. (But it's fun for me so I keep doing it.) I always think it's funny when the owners of ordinary slice-of-life blogs say, "Read MEEEE!!" without bothering to provide noteworthy content. Ordinary personal blogs are never going to generate the same kind of interest as those that deal with specific topics, interests, or hobbies. Or, another way to get attention is to be outrageous, and we all might read those outrageous blogs but most of us wouldn't want to be that outrageous person.

I do think that "plain old" good writing on interesting topics is a cream that tends to rise, and I'm willing to read and comment on those kinds of blogs, to the extent that I can find the time. Unfortunately, lately I've got too many feeds in Reader, too many kids, and too much going on in my real life (heaven forfend that real life should intrude on my virtual one!) and I am pretty much perpetually snowed under. (I also have a huge stack of library books on my reading table. I should not even be here.)

I do have a comment-beg in my sidebar right now, which I'm leaving up just because it amuses me.

Alyson (New England Living) said...

I don't violate any of your rules! Yay! :)

I'm with you. There are all these weird things that come along with blogging. Sometimes I really hate it and just don't even touch my blog for weeks at a time.